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Wind farms win few fans  

Credit:  Matthew Cranston | The Australian Financial Review | www.afr.com ~~

Rural landholders across Australia may face a disappearing pool of buyers and plummeting values of up to 60 per cent because of neighbouring wind farms, a new, independent report has established.

Most reports so far, including valuation firm Preston Rowe Paterson’s on behalf of the NSW Valuer General, have not produced evidence that rural land holdings have been impaired by wind turbine development.

However, registered valuer Peter Reardon has compiled a 30-page dossier on the impacts of wind farms on adjoining or nearby rural farms.

“Discounts in value as identified of 33 per cent and 60 per cent in the market place cannot be ignored,” Mr Reardon said.

His detailed evidence included three properties, each with four or five comparative land sales.

Cullerin, an 80-hectare rural property west of Goulburn, adjoins Origin Energy’s 15-turbine wind farm. After being on the market for two years, it was sold last year at a 33 per cent discount to comparable farms that also sold within 12 months of the Cullerin sale.

A 120-hectare property outside Canberra which adjoined Infigen Energy’s 67-turbine wind farm sold in May this year for a 60 per cent discount to comparable farms also sold within 12 months.

‘No brainer’

A third property showed no adjustment in value.

Mr Reardon, was commissioned by a farmer worried about the future impact on his property. He said the impact on land values from wind farms was a “no brainer” and the real issue should be about compensation to neighbours from wind-farm operators.

“As an industry standard compensation has not being given at this stage. Until then the landholders will continue to be disadvantaged,” Mr Reardon said.

Many wind farm operators rejected the idea property values could be impaired by wind farms.

In renewable energy company Pacific Hydro’s submission to the NSW Draft Planning Guidelines for wind farms, the company asked for the removal of a reference to property values. It cited key examples of property values which had not been impaired by wind farms.

“Given the consistent base of evidence showing that wind farms do not affect prices in an identifiable trend, Pacific Hydro is highly concerned that property values have been included as a matter for consideration in the draft Guidelines.”

General Electric and AGL also want property values excluded from planning guidelines.

Paul Vallely, whose farms, Cladymore and Valhaven near Crookwell, face the prospect of a 100-turbine wind farm owned by Wind Prospect, commissioned the report. He said he was worried about his financial future, especially if property values were not considered in planning departments’ deliberations.

‘Our superannuation’

“Our land is our superannuation. We want to make sure the government does not approve the turbines because it would result in significant devaluation of our properties or even make them unsaleable,” he said.

“Word should get out that they do have a detriment on value.”

He said the problem was that the newness of wind-farm operations made it difficult to establish impacts on the value of farms.

“Something you can’t quantify is what is happening to the properties where there are no comparable sales – you have situations where people simply can’t sell the property,” Mr Vallely said.

“There hasn’t been much market evidence out there until now.”

The office of NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure was unavailable for comment.

Source:  Matthew Cranston | The Australian Financial Review | www.afr.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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